Leaves are dropping now and the hills are starting to look a little sparse, save the oaks and aspens. Those same falling leaves are making things difficult for fishermen as well! Cooler nights continue, dropping water temps. There has been a little precipitation but creeks and the warmwater rivers are still very low and clear.
Here’s what you can expect for fall fly fishing in the week ahead:
- Catskill River Trout: The Catskill rivers are in good shape with easy wading flows with the exception of the West Branch which is running on the high side at roughly 1000 CFS. The Beaverkill and Willowemoc, and the East Branch are all cool and wadeable. Bugs right now are mostly Olives and Caddis and a few Isos about mainly in the late afternoon. Nymphs are always effective, especially on the small side in the case of Olives. Be prepared to use streamers, nymphs and even terrestrials when fishing the Catsill rivers. Remember the Beaverkill is closed upstream from the 206 bridge, and the Willow is closed above the bridge near Parkston. The East Branch is open from the Shinhopple bridge downstream, and it is all catch and release now. The upper sections of the West Branch are closed, so stick to the border waters.
- Great Lakes Tribs: The salmon run continues but at a slow pace compared to past years. Kings are still coming in along with steelhead in somewhat greater numbers. As of this posting, the flow at Pineville is up slightly to approximately 500 CFS. Cooler temps are certainly helping things, but a god shot of rain could bring more fish in. The DSR is reporting that fish – mainly steelhead and some salmon – are are staging at the mouth of the river.
- Finger Lakes Tribs: Still not much going on in the Finger Lakes tribs. Fall Creek is flowing at a miserly 100 CFS, though recent rains have it on the rise – relatively. We still need some good rain and continued cold to get things going. Having said that, it’s possible the mouths of the tribs could have a few salmon and trout cruising about.
- Local Creek / Stream Trout: Local creeks are gin-clear, low, and cold. Nymphs and streamers will be best right now but keep in mind that the general trout season is closed. Some local creeks, like Owego Creek and Cayuta Creek, remain open but under artificial lures / catch and release only exceptions. Other creeks, like Nanticoke Creek, are closed. Check the DEC fishing regulations before heading out.
- Warmwater Rivers: Local river flows are low and continue to drop with the lack of rain. Right now, river temps are in the mid 50’s and the rivers are exceptionally clear. The Susquehanna in Vestal is flowing around 1000 with the feeder rivers to the Susquehanna also low and clear. The bass bite is slowing but is still there. River temps are nearing the 50 degree mark, a key transition point where bass begin to move to deeper winter lies. The exception is if we get a string of warm sunny days as this might get them up in shallower waters. The walleye bite should continue to improve in a big way now that we have some very cold nights. Fish for walleye using sink-tip lines in the deeper pools. Best flies are dark colored leech patterns. Keep in mind that along with bass and walleye, fallfish, northern pike, and even musky may be in the mix.
- Ponds and Lakes: Panfish and bass will continue to slow in their feeding activity due to the onset of cooler weather. The fishing can still be good, but more and more it will be a late afternoon / early evening bite when water temps are at their peak. Fishing will be more of a subsurface game with nymphs and streamers, fishing deeper as surface temps cool.
There are no fall fly fishing events in the week ahead.
The week ahead will be cool but not cold. Highs will hover in the 50’s all week with one day forecast to break into the low 60’s. Lows will be tolderable too, with only a day or two in the low 30’s, and most in the 40’s. A decent amount of rain is forecast mid week, otherwise it will be partly cloudy to cloudy. Remember to check licenses for expiration.